The Youth Pride Summit + Festival, hosted by the City of Atlanta, created a safe space for LGBTQ youth up to the age of 25 to have discussions like what took place on this panel. Photo by Isaiah Singleton/The Atlanta Voice

The Youth Pride Summit + Festival, hosted by the City of Atlanta, created a safe space for LGBTQIA+ youth up to the age of 25. 

The Youth Pride festival allowed attendees to enjoy family-friendly resources, programming, and activities. To preserve the intended experience, no adults over the age of 25 were able to attend the summit. 

“Atlanta stands as a city proud of its diversity and inclusivity. The Youth Pride Festival + Summit is a celebration of our commitment to creating safe, empowering spaces for LGBTQIA+ youth,” said Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens. “In the Year of the Youth, we invite all young people, regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation, to come together and embrace their true selves. It is a day of connection, learning, and unity, where our LGBTQIA+ youth can thrive and find the support they deserve.”  

Dickens announced 2023 as “Year of the Youth’, an initiative that focuses on raising graduation rates, financial literacy, increasing access to healthy foods, increasing stable housing options, and more. 

Malik Brown, director for the mayor’s division of LGBTQIA+ affairs, said he is proud of the leadership and support that exists today from Dickens. 

During the event, individuals were engaged in workshops covering topics such as financial literacy, stress reduction, self-care tools, LinkedIn skills, and more. It aimed to equip young participants with valuable life skills. Other sessions included interactive activities such as yoga, art therapy, and other exercises to express themselves and connect with peers.  

Additionally, there were peer support groups that offered a safe and affirming space to share their experiences, build connections, and find support.  

Other programs included: 

  • Community Building: Attendees were able to meet with public safety officials and engage in intergenerational dialogue, fostering mutual understanding and community connections. 
  • Free Essentials: Complimentary services include haircuts, professional headshots, professional clothing, and access to hygiene essentials, all geared towards supporting those who need it most. 
  • Health and Wellness: The Health Clinic, hosted by the Fulton County Board of Health and the Emory Rollins School of Public Health, provided attendees with education, testing, vaccines, and comprehensive wellness services. 

Nicole Whitley said she came to the Youth Summit to be around other like-minded people who support her. 

“The Youth Summit sets the tone for me because this is a safe space to be yourself without judgment. It also offers unique workshops, networking, and resources for LGBTQIA+ Youth. I love being here,” Whitley said.  Antoine Prince said he wants more events and festivals like this where LGBTQIA+ youth can gather and have fun together, 

“It’s an amazing feeling to be around so many individuals who might not all have the same story, but we’re all here because we want to feel connected and comfortable. This is a really good place to be in as a young person,” he said.